Jeff's Top 40

I’m at that age where I feel compelled to make lists. Not the kind of lists so you don’t come home from the grocery store without peanut butter or canned kumquats, but lists of things that matter. To me, anyway. Lists of most influential books, films, even friends and lovers. I’ll spare you the others, but here is a list of 40 books I love and which have influenced me most, both as a writer and as a person.

Novels

The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
The Cutting Room – Louise Welsh
The Hours – Michael Cunningham
The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
The Bullet Trick – Louise Welsh
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
Remembrance of Things Past – Marcel Proust
Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View – EM Forster
The Debt to Pleasure – John Lanchester
Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
Franny and Zooey – JD Salinger
The Emigrants – WG Sebald
The White Hotel – DM Thomas
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John LeCarrι
The Shipping News – E Annie Proulx

Short Fiction

The Palace Thief – Ethan Canin
Emperor of the Air – Ethan Canin
The Buddies Trilogy (I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Buddies, Everybody Loves You) – Ethan Mordden
After Rain – William Trevor
The Progress of Love – Alice Munro
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? – Raymond Carver

Poetry

Collected Poems – Sylvia Plath
Miscellany One – Dylan Thomas
The Waste Land and Other Poems – TS Eliot

Drama

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Edward Albee
A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams
Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
Long Day’s Journey into Night – Eugene O’Neill
Collected Plays – William Shakespeare

Non-Fiction

Story – Robert McKee
The Tarot – Mouni Sadhu

Biography/Memoirs

James Dean The Mutant King – David Dalton
Glenn Gould: Music & Mind – Geoffrey Payzant
Conversations with Glenn Gould – Jonathan Cott
Edgar Cayce The Sleeping Prophet – Jess Stearn

Essays

Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell
The Partly Cloudy Patriot – Sarah Vowell
The White Album – Joan Didion
Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion
 

 

 
 

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